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HBC is currently one of the fastest growing baseball clubs in Great Britain. The objective of the club is to build a successful and well-run organisation which provides a friendly and enjoyable experience for all its members and fans and to provide and maintain the best possible baseball facilities.

Our four adult teams - the Falcons, Eagles, Hawks and Raptors - are truly international, with players originating from as far as Japan, the United States, Germany, China, Australia, Canada, Poland, Bulgaria, and Serbia to add to the strong nucleus of British players.

Past and present players of the club have been frequently selected by the various Great Britain National Teams and we hope one of our Herts Little Leaguers will one day hit the world stage in the MLB.



The Herts Falcons were formed as the Bushey Falcons in 1996. The team was formed by Dominic Black and David Hibbert. Dominic had previous experience of the game playing at Totteridge, David had discovered a passion for the game whilst watching it on late night TV. Both felt that there was plenty of scope to create and develop a team in Hertfordshire.

The founder members of the Falcons are Simon Clarke, Aaron Walker, Eddie Sierocinski, Kevin Freeman, Sean Young, James Tucker, Steve Timmons, Tony Rooney, Dominic Black and David Hibbert.

Whilst David’s enthusiasm quickly faded, Dominic (with some help from his friend Tony Rooney) set about building a baseball team from absolute beginners. They dedicated the summer of 1996 to teaching the game and to developing the legendary falcons team spirit. To prepare for the 1997 BBF season the Falcons spent 1996 playing a series of friendlies against other established teams.

Their ignominious start was a crushing 51 – 6 loss against those veterans of British baseball the Old Timers on 17th July 1996. The Falcons went on to lose more games over the summer, but all the time learning from their opponents and developing skills, friendships and rivalries. Their hard work began to pay off when they faced the Old Timers again on 28th September 1996. They still lost this outing by 14 runs but this was clearly a vast improvement on the previous 45 run difference just two months earlier. Baseball in November is pushing a summer sport even in sunnier climes than ours, but braving the elements proved worth it for the Falcons. On 3rd November 1996 they recorded their first ever victory; winning 4 – 9 against the Southend Peers. This was a buoyant way to finish the club’s first season.



The Falcons joined the BBF Third Division for their first season of competitive baseball. Coach Earl Dix joined the team to assist their development whilst Dominic continued as Manager. Lee Manning committed to making the Falcons his senior team. The Falcons came out of the season with a respectable 7-9 win/loss record, but this does not tell the whole story. 4 of the 7 wins were actually due to the forfeits of the opponents.

The season did show many encouraging signs. On 27th April 1997 The Falcons beat the Southend Peers by an enormous 68 runs to 13. There were five home runs for the Falcons that day prompting the Watford Observer Headline “Home run crazy”.

Unfortunately the following week the Falcons lost 38 to 6 against the London Exiles. This was a bad tempered affair and no love was lost between the teams. For the mid-part of the season the Falcons won and lost games but always by large run differences demonstrating the huge difference in standards between opponents. There was no real sense of momentum.

As the season began to draw to an end the Falcons began to record tighter scorelines. They met the Exiles again later in the season; the Falcons still running out losers but this time to a more respectable 4 – 13. The last games of the season were a double-header against the BBF favourites Bracknell. Once again the Falcons lost, but managed to give their opponents some competition. They lost the first game 17 to 23 but in the last game the margin was just one run. Whilst the losses were hard to take, progress was clearly being made.



A reshuffle of the BBF league saw the Falcons playing in Southern Conference Division Two in 1998. The Falcons were developing as a club and and as a team. They now had registered game officials – both scorers and umpires. Earl and Dominic were still teamed up as Coach and Manager. 1998 also saw some significant additions to the team: Stuart Boast, a former Hemel Red Sox player, absolute powerhouse at-bat, and fantastic 3rd baseman. Henri Booy another Red Soxer – a strong utility player and an absolute gentleman. Jose Rus a Venezuelan pitcher. These experienced players added a depth to the Falcons. Dominic had been carrying the pitching burden himself – now he had 3 players that could assist him.

That season the Falcons racked up 11 wins and only 3 loses. They were coming of age. They got off to a great start beating the Tiptree Rays on the first game. The Falcons also won a tight one run victory over the Richmond Flames.

24th May 1998 saw Southend getting their league revenge and beating the Falcons 35 to 17. However the Falcons put in strong performances against Bracknell away and Tiptree at home. By late July 1998 Southend and the Falcons were the two teams at the top of the table. They played on the 19th July and the Falcons emerged victorious. This meant that they had a chance of winning the league and promotion. Unfortunately the experienced oppositions’ quality showed through. Whilst there was also no shame in losing against such strong opponents as Richmond Flames and Bracknell Dynamite, it did mean the end of any promotion dreams for the Falcons.



This season contained some real seminal moments for the team.

A new season and some more new players joined the Falcons family. John Oliver joined the fray, and Paul Auchterlounie and Geoff Hare (skilled centre-fielder and short stop, respectively) took up their positions. Paul Raybould came to join and develop the pitching staff. He had many years experience pitching at the highest level in British baseball.

Buoyed by the new recruits and building on last years success the Falcons had a phenomenal season. With league, friendly and tournament games they played a huge 29 games and won the league.

The baseball was now of a competitive standard. The league record was 11 wins and only 4 loses. The Falcons managed to take one game of a double-header against Cambridge Monarchs despite them fielding Premier league players. As a result of their form they were invited to play alongside the London Tournament. They went on to win the “Frank Brady cup” (available for teams in the lower league) beating off premiership opposition from the Essex arrows and the Bournemouth Sharks.

Their league form secured the Falcons a place at the promotional play-offs at Upper Heyford. On 22nd August 1999 they faced the Richmond Flames. The game was incredibly tight. In the Falcons last at-bat of the game Earl Dix did not call for the squeeze play of a suicide bunt. Instead the Falcons saw Stuart Boast's massive hit caught right on the fence. The Flames went on to score two more. The Falcons had lost the play-off. However in an unprecedented move BBF officials, impressed by the Falcons heart and standard, invited them to join the First Division anyway. The Falcons accepted and were promoted not by victory but on their own merit nonetheless.



Having secured promotion the Falcons entered the First division. However they were to suffer losses that it would take years to recover from. Henri Booy and Jose Rus both moved away. James Tucker, founder Falcon and stalwart of the outfield could no longer play. Dominic was still present and playing, but was suffering from injury and disillusionment. The Falcons were suddenly struggling to find nine players. This combined with the higher level of play they were facing meant a really tough time for the team.

During the season they only managed 3 victories: two against the other promoted team the Milton Keynes Bucks and one against the City Slick Sidewinders. The heads had dropped and it felt the heart had gone out of the team. For the first time the Falcons were gald to see the close of season. Would they have the resources to resurface for 2001?



Another BBF reshuffle and the merger with BSUK mean that the Falcons would still be in the First Division for 2001. Having lost so many players and so many games in 2000 it was a relief to recruit some new players. Andy Cornish began to start training with the Falcons and Steve Robertson and Stuart Carter signed up.

Whilst the Falcons now had enough new players to continue as a team, most were rookies. They quickly realised that 2001 would need to be a building season. The results for the season reflected this. They only won five games and lost 13. Also for the first time ever the Falcons forfeited a fixture. There was little to cheer about in their league performance, they did managed to win the Old Timers August Bank Holiday Tournament, providing some reasons to celebrate.

At the end of this season Dominic decided it was time to leave the Falcons. Earl also chose to go to Windsor where his son was now old enough to play. The Falcons had survived 2001. It was decided that Stuart Boast was the man to take over the helm in 2002.



The nature of British baseball is that players frequently come and go. Steve Robertson and Stuart Carter did not return for the 2002 season. However as if by magic a new wave of recruits arrived. The brothers Kal and Aspi Dimitrov, Rod Naghar, Ivor Luk and Mark Houchin. All were rookies but were enthusiastic to join the Falcons and get playing. Over time in particular the Dimitrovs and Mark would impress with their dedication to the team development both on and off the field.

The Falcons had bolstered numbers again, but were still in the situation of having many new players that needed development. The fresh input of the new coach Stuart Boast really helped drive this development. The season's results were 5 wins and 9 losses. The Falcons took some sound beatings from the Croydon Pirates (9 to 19) and the Milton Keynes Rebels (25 to 9). However they held the Brighton Buccaneers to two tight games before losing. They also comprehensively beat Richmond Knights (33 to 7) and Medway Mariners (18 to 5).

A respectable finish. More importantly the team was starting to feel like a unit again. The enthusiasm of the newer members: Cornish, Dimitrov x 2, Houchin and Luk balanced by the old core players: Auchterlounie, Boast, Freeman, Hare, Manning, Oliver, Raybould, Sierocinski. Things were looking up.



With the exception of Ivor Luk, all the Falcons returned for the 2003 season. The team was back together again. There were also four strong new additions: Ryan O’Neil an experienced Australian. James Cameron a South African international, Liam Bath a GB all rounder with the best slide in British baseball and Dave Hamilton an exceptional outfielder. The Falcons were ready to begin. Unfortunately as the season progressed it became impossible for Stuart Boast to continue in his full capacity as manager. At Stuart’s request Lee Manning took over the coaching and game management of the team.

Now was the time to start building the team up and the Falcons returned to league games with a competitive edge. A new league structure meant that the teams were playing for position right from the outset as half way through the season the division would be split in half.

It was not a winning start, they lost by one run to the Milton Keynes in the first game. However this did not seem to dent the enthusiasm. The Falcons went on to beat Croydon’s third team 30 runs to 16 and Bournemouth Sharks 26 to 15. Two losses and a win followed but it was enough to secure the Falcons place in the top half of the table.

The Falcons went on to finish 4th out of 12 over all. Playing the second half of the season against the better teams really helped player development. One game that must be mentioned is the fixture on 10th August 2003 at Richmond. This was played on the hottest day ever recorded in British history. Lee started the game with mostly the new players controversially leaving Liam and James on the bench. The first innings of these games was the best baseball I have ever seen the Falcons play. They were playing as a well drilled team, creating plays, concentrating and focused. They were also holding their own against the best team and pitcher in the league. Sadly thay did not win this game, they lost 9 to 5 in the end, but they should always remember those innings with pride.



[ Click to view the 2004 Season Awards ]

Spring Training
After four long and painful winter months without baseball, the Falcons return for spring training.  As in previous years everyone has that extra spring in their step, eager to dust-off their gloves and get to work and give it our best as we always do. 

But there seems to be something different this time around.  Cannot quite put a finger on it but the ball seems to be flying faster, the noise off the bat seems louder.  No one says anything about it, but someone makes a good play in the field, and it is there, when players give each other that look that appears to say “let’s do it this year, let’s go all the way”. 

The major change this year is that the club lost its manager, Stuart Boast.  Following a terrible run of injuries Stuart was honoured at the end of the 2003 season with his number 9 shirt being retired forever confirming him as a true Falcons legend.  Stuart would still be around to help in whatever way he can, but it is now up to 21 year old Lee Manning to lead the team forward.

It is obvious to everyone that Lee has taken his new position seriously and that he wants to succeed.  His youthful enthusiasm and eagerness to work with the team has a positive effect on everyone and with advice from some of the more senior players we are certain that the team is in good hands.

Unlike other years the team decides to make the spring training as busy as possible and apart from the regular practice sessions the club sets up 5 exhibition games.  The results are promising with a win against fellow Division 1 team Havering, a win and a loss against Premier League teams Milton Keynes Bucks and Richmond Knights, respectively, and finally losing two games against Bracknell of the Rawlings National League.

Field of Dreams
Before the start of every season the club makes a great deal of effort to make the necessary field improvements.  Our magnificent council has once again agreed to provide the various building supplies which we require.  However, upon arrival at the field those of us with little building experience looked at the field in horror as what seemed like 10 tons of RedGra (the material which covers around the infield diamond and around the bases) had been unloaded in the infield overnight.  What are we going to do with all this RedGra?  With some hesitation we turn to our teammates who have experience in such projects and we find some comfort as they nod approvingly in confirmation that this is exactly what we need.  It seems hard at first but little by little the infield and the mound is relayed and levelled beautifully with a heavy machine which probably has a proper name but we just called it “the knocker”.  The new bullpen mound is then constructed and we put the final touches by marking out the field with inch-perfect precision as if decorating a wedding cake.

Somehow, what 7 hours earlier appeared to be a messy construction site turned into a baseball temple.  Everyone seems pleased and we spent the next hour just sitting on the hill overlooking left field admiring the sight.  We did not have much to say, we just enjoyed the moment.  Field of Dreams?  Maybe, but we just call it Grovehill.

It’s Opening Day
Finally, it’s showtime and our first game takes us to Birmingham where we face one of this year’s expansion teams in Division 1, the Marston Green Maple Leafs.  In the build-up to the game we are interested to find that the Maple Leafs team was initially founded during the Second World War by Canadian soldiers stationed nearby and that we will be playing on the same diamond which they played on half a century ago.  It was a miserable wet day and on the way to Birmingham there is the worry that the game may be postponed.  We are pleasantly surprised to understand that the Maple Leafs are just as passionate about baseball as we are.  In an incredible human effort they had worked from 9am and somehow had managed to remove all the water which had flooded the infield. 

Those who came to watch the game in the rain were not disappointed as the Maple Leafs put up a good fight in the early innings.  Gradually the Falcons were getting in the groove and proved too good at the end winning 16 - 5.  We started the season exactly in the way we wanted.  All we had to do now was win 13 more games and we would be in the Play-offs.

Regular Season
Prior to our second game our club was joined by what proved to be one of the most influential players in the team.  John del Borrello, an Australian who has had experience in the British League several years ago with the Croydon Pirates 1 in the National League.  After taking several years break from the game John and his family had just moved to nearby St. Albans.  It did not take long to realize that Del Borrello was the perfect man for the clean up spot in the batting order, filling the massive hole left after the retirement of Stuart Boast.   Apart from the frightening power which he brought to the plate, he also provided a competitive edge which often got him in trouble with the officials, who will most likely be mentioning him at the next Umpires’ Clinic.

The Falcons machine was taking Division 1 South by storm and the team added a few more wins on the board against some tough teams including the very pesky Havering.  They will most definitely be challenging for honours in the coming years with their very talented group of young and promising players.

Everything seemed to be going swimmingly until 9 May 2004.  We will remember this date as one of the most painful days in Falcons history.  The Brentwood Stags were our opponents that day.  A team that we knew were by no means a threat in the play-off chase and which we had beaten easily in recent meetings.  For 4 innings things went according to the form guide with the Falcons leading 8 - 1 at the start of the 5th.  And then the unthinkable happened.  A spectacular collapse in the Falcons’ pitching combined with 8 fielding errors allowed Brentwood to score 17 runs in 5 innings and win the game 18 - 13.  The shock among us was such that no one could explain what had just happened.  Was this some type of a “Babe Ruth” curse being cast on our club?  We have to give a lot of credit to Brentwood who played out of their skins, although it was too painful to admit this at the time, especially as the Brentwood players were taking pictures of themselves and the scoreboard.  In our search for clues we categorically concluded that our club must have been jinxed by the scoreboard which the club had introduced for the first time in that game.  Well, that scoreboard was never used again by the club.  Feelings are still running high so, as things stand, it is not expected that the scoreboard will be used ever again by the Falcons.  Brentwood ended up bottom of the league in 2004 (only above two clubs which folded during the year) and this made it an even more painful loss for the Falcons. 

That game proved to be a blessing in disguise for the team.  We did not look back after that game and won the remaining 11 games finishing top of our division which took us to the promotion play-offs.

The Greatest Come Back in Falcons History
This run of 11 consecutive wins included one of the most emotional games in Falcons history in what proved to be the pennant deciding game against the favourites, Croydon Pirates 2.  The stage was set, last game of the season, first versus second in the table. 

The Falcons had beaten Croydon in the away game several months earlier and there was no fear.  That is until Croydon took the field for their warm-up.  All of a sudden among the Croydon Pirates appeared 4 or 5 seasoned Japanese and Korean players.  Players we had not met in the previous meeting.  The ball starts zipping across the field at what seemed like 100 miles an hour and these Croydon newcomers were looking like they were relatives of Ichiro, Nomo and Matsui.  One of them was in fact their starting pitcher that day.  Things were not looking good.  Not even the “meat” of our batting line-up was able to make contact with the pitcher’s Nomo-like splitter.  On top of that we were unable to contain their hitting, and we found ourselves trailing 13 - 0, with two outs in the bottom of the 4th inning.  Our heads were down.  Only a divine intervention could help us now. 

And it did come in the shape of our own Japanese “wonder boy”, Shunji.  Coming up to the plate there was hardly any sounds of encouragement from a demoralised Falcons bench.  And then it happened.  Shunji managed to hit one beyond the infield for a base hit and instead of settling for a single, to everyone’s surprise, Shunji decides to stretch it into a double.  Seemed like a bad decision, but like a bullet Shunji dives into the dirt – He’s safe at second.  Suddenly the bench is alive on its feet, shouting Shunji’s name, who picks himself up, dirty like a coalmine worker, punching the air with his fists.  OK, we are still 13-0 down with two outs, and maybe there was a touch of sarcasm in the cheer from the bench, but that one play turned the whole game on its head –we could believe again.

That hit with 2 outs lead to 6 runs in that inning and another 9 in the next.  We were back.  The lead was gradually reducing and after more than 5 hours of play in the bottom of the eighth inning we scored 3 runs to take the lead 26-25.  Sounds like an American football score, but that is just how crazy that game was.  It was now up to our reliever Takashi Hirai to close the game, and he did it.  In the greatest comeback in our history - Falcons win the pennant. 

Clinching the pennant in that crazy game was long forgotten.  The play-offs were here – sudden death.  It was time to play “October Baseball” - in August.

In the Play-Off semi-final we faced the Bournemouth Sharks, which was one of the top teams from the other division.  In the build up to the game an 11-man strong Falcons delegation were sent out to Windsor on a spying mission to see our likely play-off opponents.  Yes, 11 man is not exactly from the James Bond textbook of undercover spying, so we were easily spotted by the opposition, who were eager to inform us that they had actually spied on us earlier in the season and do not think we stand a chance in the play-offs.

To a certain extent they were right as Bournemouth turned out to be the best team which we faced in 2004.  After a shaky start the Sharks pitcher settled down and the visitors from the south coast were taking control of the game with a lead of 6 - 4 in the top of the 4th inning.  The Falcons had a real difficulty getting their offensive game going, while the Sharks seemed confident and always on the verge of a big inning. 

It is often said that the post-season often gives birth to baseball legends.  In 2004 the Boston Red Sox had David Ortiz, Manny Ramirez and Derek Lowe - The Falcons had Jim Denison.

Jim came in to relieve starting pitcher, 52 year old Paul Raybould, who had been the basis of the Falcons success all year-long and had given the team another 4 good innings to keep the team in the game.

Jim went on to pitch a masterpiece.  Over the next 4 innings he completely shut down the Sharks not allowing any runs.  The game was turning into a pitching duel as the Sharks pitching staff also kept the Falcons quite and going into the eighth inning Sharks were still leading 6 - 4.

In the 8th, the Sharks managed to get 2 runs in after some very good clutch hitting and just like that it seemed like the Falcons season was to end in bitter disappointment.  We were trailing 8-4 and not even the great pitching performance by Denison could save us.  The game seemed beyond us.  After all, we had not scored any runs in the last 6 innings.

To top it all off a heavy rainstorm came and over the space of 10 minutes completely flooded the infield.  So apart from being almost dead and buried, we had to worry about the game being called and losing it as a result.  The Falcons grounds crew had to go into action and quick.  And they did.  You will not see another grounds crew like the Falcons one that afternoon at any Major League ballpark. 

The game was able to resume and in the bottom of the 8th inning we managed to score 2 runs and we were only 2 runs behind now.  Top of the 9th and Denison shuts the Sharks down again. 

Going into the bottom of the 9th this was our last chance.  A tense situation not only for the players but for the loyal Falcons’ fans who were drenched but their voices were still going strong.  Some members of the Falcons organisation who were stranded in other parts of the world were on the mobile phones receiving a play-by-play live commentary from the bench.  Falcons first batter comes up, as a female voice from the Falcons area is heard saying – tonk it – well, not exactly.  He sees 4 balls in a row and gets to first base.  Maybe, just maybe we are still in with a chance.  Second batter – walks.  The Sharks pitching that seemed invincible was becoming shaky all of a sudden.  Third batter – ball 4 – he walks.  Fourth batter – sharp ground ball to third base.  Third baseman knocks it down but cannot field it cleanly.  Runner scores and everyone is safe.  Bases loaded, no outs, winning run on second base with the Falcons biggest bat, John del Borrello coming up.  The pitch, and a massive swing sends the ball deep in the gap in right centerfield for a hit.  1 run scores.  Shunji, from 2nd base, rounding 3rd to score the winning run – 9-8 Falcons.

Everyone is on the field to start wild celebrations which go on through the night.

We were now through to the Play-Off final where we once again met the Croydon Pirates.  On a beautiful summer day in Hertfordshire, Grovehill sees the largest crowd of the year and the Falcons did not disappoint winning convincingly 27-15.

The Falcons will be playing Premier League baseball next year.

Division 1 Final 4
As Play-Off Finalists the club had earned a place in the Division 1 Final 4 which sees the best from the South against the best from the North with the winner becoming National Champions at Division 1 level.  It was hosted by the Halton Jaguars who together with their local council and the BBF had made a lot of effort to make it a very well organised and enjoyable event. 

Apart from the Jaguars the second team from the Northern Conference was the Sheffield Bladerunners who came with a regular season record of 21 wins and no loses.  We had to face them first and we had our work cut out for us.  We just could not hit the Bladerunners’ pitcher, Tommy Booth, who actually pitched 3 games in 2 days.  Curt Schilling pitching on 3 days’ rest with blood coming out of his ankle was kids’ stuff compared to what this guy did.  Anyway, we found ourselves trailing and despite a late rally lost the game 11 - 4.  We lost but left our mark on the game in true Falcons style, when the umpire crew ejected the entire team from the dugout.  So we had to make a new home for ourselves in the cosy surroundings of a muddy hill, in a wooded area, 30 yards from the field. 

After the game we found that the Bladerunners also like a drink after a game as we met them in a nearby pub.  They certainly were a nice bunch and we hope that we will meet them again at some point in the future.

The loss against Sheffield meant that we needed a win against the hosts, the Halton Jaguars in order to meet Sheffield in the final.  It just was not to be.  Despite a late home run from John  del Borrello we lost in a closely fought game 9 - 6.

Two games -  two losses.  We made the conclusion that playing north of the 53rd parallel just does not suit us so we quickly headed back south looking forward to 2005 in the Premier League.

End of Season Awards Night
2004 was one of the most successful years in the club’s history and the club’s Awards Night was a happy occasion.

The race for the MVP award was a close one between the Falcons’ best hitter, John del Borrello and the club’s Japanese sensation, Shunji.  Both had collected most of the other awards earlier in the night and it was time for the big one - the MVP award - which is voted for by all the members of the club. 

Apparently, when Shunji was submitting his vote he made a pledge to win the MVP award in the upcoming 2005 season.  Shunji did not have to wait until next year, as he picked up the 2004 Most Valuable Player trophy.

Every year the club likes to award a member of the club with an award to mark an act of sheer stupidity.  This year it was John del Borrello.  First he broke the record by being nominated in four of the 8 nominations in total for this award.  Out of these four nominations the clear winner was John’s actions causing the farce at the Division 1 Final 4 event where the umpire crew ejected the whole team from the bench area, sending them to stand on a muddy hill a long distance away from the field, instead.



[ Click to view the 2005 Season Awards ]

After a memorable promotion in 2004, the Falcons made their debut in the Premier League of British Baseball where they were to face big guns like the Cambridge Monarchs, Essex Arrows, Richmond Knights and Oxford Kings among others. The Falcons were not overwhelmed by the better opposition and despite ending up with a losing record of 7 wins and 14 losses never looked out of place in the Premier League.

Losing MVP Shunji Kakutani and Batting Champion, John del Borrello who moved back to Japan and Australia, respectively, was a massive blow for the team, but the team was reinforced with the additions of Kimiyoshi Saionji, Bruce Dullea, Kyle Hunlock, Baek Seunk Kwan “Mac”, Todd Nightingale, Buddy Owen and EJ Zoog.

Most memorable games of the season surely were the four encounters against the eventual champions, Cambridge Monarchs, with their batting lineup made up of one slugger after another and most of all their 90mph “plus” velocity of pitchers Glenn Goodrich and Bob Runyon, the latter having previously pitched for the St. Louis Cardinals in the Minor Leagues. The Falcons gave the Monarchs a real scare in all three of the league encounters with some memorable moments including Kyle Hunlock turning a magnificent Triple Play and Jim Denison going 3 for 3 with 3 home runs and when he came up for his fourth and final at bat in the final inning with runners on 2nd and 3rd and Denison representing the go-ahead run, the Monarchs wisely took the bat out of his hands, walking him intentionally. The Falcons lost all three of the league games against Cambridge but they did have their revenge in the UK’s biggest annual baseball event, the London Tournament, where the boys from Hertfordshire caused the upset of the tournament by beating the red hot favourites from Cambridge and relegating them to playing on Croydon’s Field #5 for the rest of the tournament.

2005 was also the year when the organisation created its second team, Hawks, which entered Division 1. This was possible thanks to an incredible amount of newcomers joining the club and wanting to wear the Falcons shirt. Some of the newcomers included Rob Jones, Ross Asquith, Ross Davies, Larry Martillo, Alex Casey, Samer Karouni, Andy Lowe, Jason Sarfo-Annin and of course Jake Kikel’s son Peter who had turned 14 years of age and was eligible to play in official League games. Hawks had an incredible debut year finishing third in their Division with a phenomenal record of 10 wins and 5 losses which meant that they missed out on the promotion play-offs ending up one game back on the Havering Cardinals and three games back on the winners, Cambridge Monarchs2.



[ Click to view the 2006 Season Awards ]

The 2006 season was the second season in which the Falcons fielded two teams.  The first transitional year had taught us some valuable lessons, and the managers Lee Manning and Eddie Sierocinski were better able to cope with the initial teething problems from the point of view of organization.

There were a number of personnel changes during that year:  Falcons had to say goodbye to Kyle Hunlock, Baek Seunk Kwan “Mac”, Todd Nightingale and EJ Zoog.  However, the lineup was strengthened by the introduction of the catcher Jason “Big Bat” Greenberg, the wide-ranging (in all senses of the word) centre-fielder Bart “This is not a strike” Snavely and the canny infielder Nick “Get your arse down” Goetz.  Hawks added the services of the Venezuelan Godzilla Carlos Casal, Justin “The Padre” Fung, and the always keen Tim “Shinpad” Elkins and Steve “The Cleaver” Nippress.

Both teams started in outstanding fashion – after the first two weeks, Falcons were top of the league with a record of 3 and 1, having taken a game of the eventual league winners, Cambridge Monarchs (and many a player still reminisce about that game over a pint or twelve even now).  In the meantime, Hawks also started with a couple of wins against Essex and Richmond.  Everything looked rose-tinted (or lager-tinted in Lee’s case).

Then began what has now become commonly known in the annals of the Falcons as “that loosing streak”.  Falcons had 13 successive losses, while Hawks “managed” to keep it to 6 losses in a row.  Both teams really played well during that period, but there were just a few “small” issues – couldn’t hit, didn’t pitch well, and the number of errors more or less equalled the runs scored.  Other than that, we are still stumped how it was possible to pile up so many losses.  But never mind.

Midway through the season, the Falcons learned about the tragic passing of a former team member – Kyle Hunlock.  Our thoughts have been with Kyle’s family since then, and the Falcons have retired his number 36, as well as naming our intra-squad World Series the “Kyle Hunlock Series”.

One of the main reasons for the slump in form for Falcons was the fact that the rock-solid 2nd baseman – Kimiyoshi Sayonji went on the Disabled List for over two and a half months after having his jaw broken while making a heroic play at first.

Finally, both teams snapped out of the losing mentality – Falcons swept the Shropshire Panthers to end up above them in the table, while Hawks won against Richmond.

At the end of the season both teams were faced with relegation play-offs. 

Falcons were facing the up-and-coming Burgess Hill Colts.  In a dramatic 10-inning game, Falcons lost by a run, and were relegated from the Premier League.  No more needs to be said on that issue.

In their play-off game, Hawks faced the Guildford Mavericks, who had finished 2nd in Division 2.  It was a tough game, and in the bottom of the 8th inning Hawks were down by 6 runs.  But after a doughty batting performance in the bottom of the 8th (in particular a 3 run double by catcher Jake Kikel), Hawks had tied the game, and won it in the bottom of the 9th with the winning run coming home on a wild pitch.  Thus, Hawks maintained their Division 1 status.  This also meant that Falcons and Hawks would play in the same division next season, providing the opportunity for a lot of shenanigans and (presumably) one or two breweries running out of produce.

So what did the Falcons learn during that tough season...?

Steve Nippress learned that it is good, even, some would say, necessary, when you make a catch in the outfield with runners on base and less than two out, to throw the ball to the cut-off guy, rather than do a little jig and shout “I got it, I got it”.  Pete and Jake Kikel now know all the ins and outs of an intentional walk.  We even know now that Bruce can slide (well, fall down on top of the base, really).

There are only a few regrets.  For example, that barbecue we did at Bruce’s place should have been rescheduled for a day where the rain was a lot harder (or just moved it to the middle of the sea).  Another moment of great but non-materialized potential was when Paul Raybould, pitching for Hawks, had 4 errors made behind him in a row, and stated firmly “One more error and I am going home” (at the time Hawks were playing at Burgess Hill).  Unfortunately, the next time the ball was hit, it was a pop up to Jake, who was probably not feeling very well and made the catch.  People are still talking about what might have been if the ball had come to Kal or Larry.



MVP (Most valuable player)
Jason Greenberg
MVP (Most valuable player)
Rodney Naghar
Batting Champion
Andy Cornish (Avg .506)
Batting Champion
Peter Kikel (Avg .455)
Infield Gold Glove
Kimiyoshi Saionji (F% .920)
Infield Gold Glove
Ross Davies (F% .976)
Outfield Gold Glove
Andy Cornish (F% .920)
Outfield Gold Glove
Dave Hamilton (F% .800)
Best Pitcher
Nic Goetz (ERA 3.71)
Best Pitcher
Larry Martillo (ERA 6.48)

Home Run Champions
Andy Cornish (4)
Jason Greenberg (4)

Most Stolen Bases
Ross Davies (19)
Most Stolen Bases
Yuji Endo (25)
Most RBI
Kal Dimitrov (11)
Most RBI
Andy Cornish (30)
Jason Greenberg (30)
Rookie of the Year
Chantal Gerrard
Coach's Award
John Oliver
Most Improved Player
Jonathon Lewys

Lee locking his car keys and home keys in his car and deciding to solve the problem by taking a (-5) aluminium bat to smash the car window and ending up bending the metal frame of the car door with his "Major League" follow-through.

Play of the Year
Short Stop Yuji Endo making a full-length dive towards third base, stopping the ball, springing up and making a great throw to get the out at first.
Umpire of the Year
Geoff Hare: good calls, bad calls, ugly calls...





Marty Cullen

Luis Goncalves

Tim Elkins

Geoff Hare
Midweek Training, Grovehill

During a training session which consisted of fielding the ball, stepping on second base and FAKING the throw to first base, Geoff fielded the ball well, stepped on the bag and then gunned a throw to first base where Jake was fielding a ball from third. The ball Geoff threw hit Jake square in the nuts dropping him to the ground. People making the throws from third had not realised Jake was down and a ball thrown by Geoff’s son, Louis, flew past Jakes head just missing by a few inches. Geoff walks up to Jake and apologises and turns to Louis saying. "Two perfect throws though, right on the money."

Dan Kerry
8 June 2008, Falcons @ Windsor Bears

Dan Kerry hits two homers, back-to-back (3 RBI) to tie the game and take it into extra innings where the Falcons eventually win 8-7.

Darrin Ward
Dave Westfallen
Hunter Devine
Batting Champion
Kimiyoshi Saionji (.406)
Batting Champion
Louis Hare (.525)
Batting Champion
Rob Jones (.550)
Infield Gold Glove
Kimiyoshi Saionji (F% .989)
Infield Gold Glove
Luis Goncalves (F% .800)
Infield Gold Glove
Jonathon Lewys (F% .978)
Outfield Gold Glove
Rodney Naghar (F% 1.00)
Outfield Gold Glove
Dave Hamilton (F% 1.00)
Outfield Gold Glove
Rob Jones (F% 1.00)
Best Pitcher
Nic Goetz (8 W, .248 OBA)
Best Pitcher
John Oliver (4.33 ERA)
Best Pitcher
Mark Hoffmann (14.31 ERA)

Home Run Champ
Dan Kerry (2)

Home Run Champs
Dave Westfallen (1)
Humberto Goncalves (1)

Home Run Champ
- - -

Most Stolen Bases
Andy Cornish (16)
Most Stolen Bases
Carlos Casal (12)
Most Stolen Bases
Hunter Devine (20)
Most RBI
Kimiyoshi Saionji (25)
Most RBI
Carlos Casal (10)
Most RBI
Hunter Devine (11)
Coach's Award
Aspi Dimitrov
Coach's Award
Nick Russell
Coach's Award
Rob Crouch



© 2008 Herts Baseball Club